Raise your hand if you’ve ever been stuck in the seat next to the person who has a fear of flying. You know this not-so-jet-setter. Common signs of this flyer include:
- Rapt attention during the safety features demonstration.
- Repeated perusal of the safety guidelines.
- Expression of an audible, “Oh, oh, oh!” every time the plane banks to make a turn.
- Bracing themself against the wall and the armrests, as if this will somehow keep them from falling out of the (very intact) plane window.
- Quick jerking of their hands to the armrests when there is turbulence.
- Obsessive observation of rowmates to assess their level of calmness (or panic, really).
- Obsessive observation of flight attendants for the same reason.
- Excessive sweating. (No, they did not spill their drink on their lap. Sweat is natural, ok?)
This flyer is annoying. Occasionally amusing. She makes for great storytelling to your friends during happy hour. You figured out I’m this flyer, right? Y’all, hear me out.
Everyone points out the extreme safety of planes. They’re the safest form of transportation! Thousands of flights happen everyday without incident! I get it. I really do. But when something finally does go wrong, that is one really horrible, horrible situation.
But you say, “Kate, look at the statistics!” There’s only a 1 in 19.8 million chance that you could die! You would have to go on 70,000 flights before an issue would crop up! Y’all, if I bought Powerball tickets and began imagining my schedule as a retiree sipping on Arnold Palmers as the ripe age of 28, why would the flight odds make me feel better?
You might also say things get better the more you fly. I’m here to tell you that isn’t true. As someone who frequently has four flights and sometimes six per week, it just Doesn’t. Get. Better. It’s that odds thing. Surely, I’m increasing my odds of being on that plane that has the issue. Kind of like buying 200 lotto tickets instead of one.
There are also a lot more wackos out in the world today. How many crazies were flying in the 50s versus how many are flying now? A lot more, that’s how many. That little old man with the straw hat and pictures of his grandchildren doesn’t fool me. He probably has explosive toothpaste in his carry-on.
In the end, the only thing that makes me feel remotely better is the airplane instrument thing. Our cars have maybe one gauge on them. Ok, maybe three. A commercial airplane has probably, oh, 50. Actually I don’t know this. Are there any pilots out there reading this blog? Can you confirm? Actually, I might not want to know. Let me go on thinking there are at least 50 gauges. Nobody answer this question unless you can tell me there are more than 50.
This is all to say, try not to judge me when I drink my Bloody Mary and toss back those anxiety pills at 7:30 A.M..
Are there any other fear of flying comrades out there?